I do love holidays where you get out and about and do some exploring. Shane, the manager at the Beach House, told us that just 6kms up the road from Barrier Beach House is a turn-off to the right where you head down a dirt road until you come to the water’s edge. Lying off-shore and just 200-metres away, is Oyster Island Resort.
Six kilometres sounds so close it’s almost like it’s next door so we decided to cycle there. It’s a long time since I was on a bike so actually, 6kms is further than I thought.
It was a very overcast day and also intermittently raining but regardless we were out and about and enjoying ourselves. At the end of the dirt road we came to a thatched structure with a metal drum hanging off one side of it. A stick is attached and if you use that to bang on the drum, the noise will attract the barge driver and he will come over to collect you.
What a novelty! Alfie gave that drum a big whack and next thing we saw the barge heading over to greet us. But just as the barge approached a squall swept through with gusts of violent winds and torrential rain. The driver of the barge was the Aussie manager of Oyster Island Resort and he was yelling out that we had to hurry onto the barge as conditions were deteriorating and he’d have to quickly take us over to the Island, then head back out to rescue some kayakers caught in the squall.
So we threw our bikes onto the barge and held on for dear life as the barge took us across to the Island. The manager was saying, ‘Don’t worry about it; it’s just a squall; just a bit of low pressure; happens all the time; will blow over. She’ll be right’.
It only takes a minute or two to travel the distance to Oyster Island. We quickly disembarked so the manager could find those poor kayakers. We dumped our bikes and took refuge in the restaurant and bar area.
The restaurant has been made in the traditional style using traditional materials. We had intended to do some touring by kayak but thought it best to wait until the conditions improved. Meanwhile, we had a calming drink and ordered some lunch.
I’ve heard it’s good to go to Oyster Island for lunch on a Sunday as they have a bar-be-cue buffet that is apparently excellent. But it was Monday so we’d missed that opportunity and instead ordered from the menu.
As they were out of white wine, I started with a glass of ‘bubbles’ that was Aquila Sparkling. It was rather nice to be enjoying a glass of bubbles while watching the squall blow around the island.
The young adults shared the Sangria which was red wine, Cointreau, Sprite and mixed fruits. Typically, they had no trouble finishing this jug.
Alfie enjoyed a fruit mocktail of blended pineapple, paw paw, banana and orange juice and this he loved.
As for Drew, he set a good example for his family and ordered the ‘Wata’. Vanuatu rain water collected fresh each day it rains. And there is no charge for the ‘wata’.
After all his ‘wata’, Drew wasn’t terribly hungry so he ordered a toasted sandwich where you choose two fillings and it comes with fries. He had no complaints until he saw my Blue Hole Burger.
I ordered the Blue Hole Burger because I liked the name of it and because Shane had highly recommended it. This was a terrific burger and I was certainly impressed with the height of it. I wasn’t keen on the sweet potato fries as I found them quite dry but good old Drew said I could swap my fries with his.
The young adults ordered a Santo Blanket Wrap and were very happy with this but also suffered from burger envy. I’m sure if we went back there today it would be Blue Hole Burgers all round.
By the time I’d finished my burger, the squall had moved on and it stopped raining. I took a stroll around the Island which even on a dull day is very picturesque. While you can stay in some budget-priced unit accommodation, there are some individual bungalows that are down on the water and well-spaced to ensure privacy and a peaceful environment. They face west so you’d be able to sit on your balcony or swing from the hammock and enjoy the sunset.
Oyster Island sits within a Marine Reserve and has several white sandy beaches as well as some coral reefs teeming with marine life to explore with a snorkel and mask. But while on the Island there is as much to do or as little to do as you choose, Oyster Island also has staff to give you a lot of local experiences with visits to native farms and villages.
We enjoyed our day on Oyster Island and found it to have a very relaxed, casual and friendly atmosphere with staff who can’t do enough to ensure you have everything you need. The lunch menu is reasonably priced with well-presented meals coming from the kitchen and dining in the restaurant while overlooking the beautiful view is very special.
The Island offers lower-priced accommodation in paradise surroundings with a genuine and authentic island feel.
We did get out on the Island’s kayaks but I’ll share that adventure with you tomorrow.
We took the barge back to the mainland and cycled back to Barrier Beach House. With little cycling experience, we had very sore rear-ends but it had been a great way to travel so no regrets.
Verdict: A relaxed place to spend a day.
Oyster Island Resort: 20-minutes up the Coast Road from Luganville. Espirtu Santo, Vanuatu.
Ph: 00678 7782773 or 00678 36283